Unethical Companies In The MediaPresentation Transcript
Unethical Companies in the Media
Edelman PR recently admitted to creating Wal-Mart’s blog, “Working Families for Wal-Mart.” A recent blog entry, titled “Wal-Marting across America,” featured a fictitious family traveling the United States in their RV and sleeping in Wal-Mart parking lots.
Equally unethical was Ruckus’ creation of “Brody Ruckus.” This meat puppet, or fictitious character that passes for a human online, was given a Facebook profile and was the star in a self-titled Facebook group urging users to join his group so that his girlfriend would participate in a three-some with him if his group reached a certain number of members. Facebook users failed to realize that Brody Ruckus was made up and that Ruckus was able to gather the email information of the 300,000 people that joined the group.
Sony recently had a “flog,” or a fake blog titled alliwantforxmasisapsp.com, created by a viral marketing firm to advertise their PSP during the holiday season.
Unethical Ways to Reach Consumers
Although the CEO of Edelman apologized for creating the “Working Families for Wal-Mart” blog and AOL apologized for accidentally releasing their user search data to the research community, many other companies are not as quick to admit their flaws.
Ruckus did not publicly apologize for creating Brody Ruckus and using 300,000 email addresses, nor did Sony actually apologize for creating their “flog” about their PSP (Sony did at least acknowledge the issue).
Companies such as MySpace and Xanga also did not actually apologize to consumers for violating privacy issues by giving away user information. Both agreed to increase “safeguards,” which they feel will make their websites safer when handling users’ private information.
Addressing the Public
Whether AOL releases user data or MySpace gives away data on their teen users, more companies are faced with problems that they had not anticipated regarding social networking.
Companies such as Xanga, Hershey Foods, and Mrs. Field’s Cookies were caught violating children’s privacy issues. The FTC fined these companies for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by asking children for personal information without prior consent of their parents.
Since children and teenagers make so much personal information available to others through the internet, issues have gone beyond privacy to include sexual predators.
Companies have become so involved in collecting user data that they are willing to put young children at risk to give away too much information for their own benefit.